What's Your Corporate Signal Strength?
We are all familiar with the wireless world of cell phones and computers. In addition, many of you have had the frustrating experience of trying to get on-line in a hotel room only to have low signal strength force you to traverse the room to get connected, send, and receive messages. The optimal spot is usually far away from desk, chair or bed.
Imagine you are an employee in a mid-sized or large company who wants to connect to the vision and direction of your organization. However, much like hotel wireless systems, the signal strength is too low for you to comfortably connect from where you are. Instead, you have to move around to find a way to download the information. Corporate purpose and direction signal strength needs to be strong enough for everyone, anywhere within the organization, to pick up anytime!
So how do you boost your company’s signal strength? The best way is to increase signal power from the base. This means making sure the executive team is cohesive, aligned around strategy, and communicating out consistently.
It is relatively easy to get together once a year and map out the corporate strategic plan, set up corporate targets and goals. It is much harder to make sure that the executive team stays aligned around the plan and that its message is continually available and translatable to everyone in the organization. A 20 page document with 15 corporate initiatives on a master spreadsheet does not make for signal clarity. Executive teams need simplify their strategy, goals and messages. They also need to regularly check for cohesion and alignment, because any gap at the executive level dampens signal strength and results at the front line.
We work through six pivotal questions with executive teams. These questions are simple in nature, yet when discussed provide an opportunity for crucial dialogue and create crystal clarity at the executive level.
Why do we exist beyond making money? (Core purpose of the company)
How do we behave that creates our success? (Company values)
How will we succeed? (Three decision making success criteria)
Who do we serve? (Target audience or customer)
What’s the most important right now? (Rallying cry for the company)
Who does what? (Roles and responsibilities)
Often when we are asked to work with a team, the leader will tell us the strategic plan has already been set. As we go through these questions, we find that for some teams, the answers around the table are easy and consistent, reinforcing their strategic clarity. However, there are always one or two surprisingly inconsistent sets of comments. This leads to great dialogue and passionate debate, ideal for building greater team cohesion and getting agreement and clarity around strategic focus.
The fast pace and unstable climate of today’s business world demands regular attention to maintaining team cohesion, maintaining organizational clarity and aligning messages to that clarity. If you find yourself asking why your team members aren’t doing what they need to be doing, first check your company’s signal strength. Find out if you and your peers can answer the six questions consistently without having to pull out documents. Keep the message simple, be sure of your team’s cohesion and clarity, and consistently communicate that clarity throughout your organization.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.